First Line Friday — Meant to Be

The black dog followed them home. Eric knew this would be trouble. He and his wife, Rhonda, had lost their beloved black shepherd/Lab mix, Shadow, in November and Rhonda had begun talking about getting another dog. But Eric was dead set against it. “Having a dog will tie us down, Ronda,” he argued. “We finally have the freedom now to travel and go where we want for however long we want to go any time we wish to.”

“We’re in the middle of a goddam pandemic,” Rhonda argued back. “They’re ordering us to stay home and leave only when it’s essential. So where is it that you think we’re going to go?”

As they approached their house, Rhonda looked back to see the dog stop and look at her with its sad, brown eyes. She leaned down and motioned for the dog to come forward, which it slowly and cautiously did. “Look, Eric,” she said. “No collar, no tags.” Getting down on her knees, she hugged the dog and the dog rewarded Rhonda by licking her face. “We can’t just leave this sweet dog out here. It’s starting to get dark and it’s supposed to get down into the thirties tonight.”

Eric knew his wife well enough to know that there was no point in arguing. “Fine,” he said, “we’ll bring this mangy mutt in, give it some food and water, and we can take it to the vet tomorrow to have it checked out. But then we have to find out if he’s anybody’s pet dog and, if so, to see if they’re looking for him.”

Rhonda smiled, “It’s a her, Eric, and she looks so much like our Shadow, doesn’t she? It was meant to be, Eric.”

Written for the First Line Friday prompt from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, where the first line is “The black dog followed them home.”

MLMM — The Italian Stallion

Dominic bowed his head to hide his face. He saw them all looking at him with disdain. He knew that his coworkers had heard about his affair with the boss, Darlene. The scuttlebutt that was going around the office was that the only way he could have gotten his last promotion was by screwing her and it made him feel like such a turkey.

It was Friday, which was the day that he and his coworkers traditionally went out together for lunch. But on this Friday, given all that was going on, Dominic demurred. They all seemed to lack any compassion toward him, even though he knew some secrets about them that could be damaging to their own personal lives. He thought it was kind of paradoxical that they would shun him for having slept with the boss when many of them had cheated on their own spouses with each other. What a bunch of fucking hypocrites they are, he thought.

While all of his alleged friends at the office were off enjoying their Friday lunch, Dominic walked boldly into Darlene’s office and announced that he was quitting. “I can’t continue working here,” he said. “They all know about us, so I need to find a different job. It’s time for me to find some new beginnings for my life.”

Darlene looked up at Dominic, who was standing in front of her desk. “Well, given the delicate situation, Dom,” she said, “I was going to have to let you go, so I do accept your resignation.”

Suddenly Darlene stood up, walked around her desk to where Dominic was standing, threw her arms around his neck, and presses her body tightly up against his. “I hope these new beginnings you’re talking about still include me, you hunky Italian Stallion.”

Written for the Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie First Line Friday prompt, where the line is “Dominic bowed his head to hide his face.” Also for the Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver prompt, where the topic is “beginnings.” Also for these daily prompts: The Daily Spur (affair), MMA Storytime (Turkey), Ragtag Daily Prompt (compassion), Your Daily Word Prompt (demur) and Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (paradox),

First Line Friday — Well, Almost

For this week’s Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie First Line Friday , Dylan Hughes gives us the first line of “One by one the lights of the city block winked out, the dark coming ever closer.

I was going to write a post today about a power outage we had last night, where block by block, the transformers that power our neighborhood blew as a result of an electric substation that apparently also blew. When I saw today’s first line, I thought I might adapt it to suit the post I was planning on writing anyway. In my semi-rural, suburban neighborhood, where we don’t have sidewalks, much less streetlights, I couldn’t exactly use “lights of the city block” in my response. So, as you’ll see below, I modified the first line a bit to fit the reality of what happened.

Last night, at around 8:20, the lights of the homes in our neighborhood winked out when, one by one, the transformers sitting atop telephone poles blew, casting our streets in total darkness. My wife saw a light flash outside of our kitchen window and then we heard a loud popping sound. I ran outside, where my neighbor, already in the street, was pointing to the transformer high atop the telephone pole across from my house. He told me it had just blown in a mini-explosion. And then I saw another transformer at the end of our block light up for an instant and heard another popping sound. My biggest fear was that if any sparks from the blown transformers hit the ground, they might trigger wildfires right in my neighborhood. Fortunately, I didn’t see any sparks, just smoke coming from the transformers and the unpleasant smell of seared electrical wires.

I took my dog out for a quick walk and the only light to be seen was from my headlamp and from the flashlights of my many neighbors out in the streets. I think that they, too, were worried about the threat of a fire as a result of the blown electric transformers and/or falling live wires.

This was the second power failure in our neighborhood in a week. I wrote in this post last week about the first power outage this season in our area. It was bad because it was 110° when the power went out and it lasted for four hours. With no air conditioning, it didn’t take long for our home to get uncomfortably hot. Fortunately, for last night’s outage, it wasn’t nearly as hot as it was the last time the power went out. It was in the low 60s last night.

The good news was that by around 10:20 last night the power came back on, so the outage this time was only about half as long, two hours, as the one we had last week. And, as I said, it wasn’t brutally hot this time.

Anyway, I hope, Dylan, I didn’t screw up your First Line Friday prompt this week too badly, but with power outages casting my street into a darkness that seems to be coming ever closer these days — both literally and, sadly, metaphorically — I’m using my privilege as a blogger to leverage your prompt in a slightly different manner.

First Line Friday — Reconnecting

4D2FE010-5CE3-4ADB-B1CC-506C99417764Lush melodies drew her to the door of the lounge, the friendly smiles enticed her inside. But as soon as she entered the room, she was hit by an atmosphere thick with the aroma of cigars. It reminded her of her father and a room in their house, which was actually a spare bedroom, when she was a young girl. It was the one place in their home where her mother permitted her father to smoke his cigars. This place smelled just like that room, and she wondered if all the men in the lounge would smell like her father did each time he emerged from that room of his. Strangely, the thought being in a room with men who smelled like her father both repelled and attracted her.

She made her way through the fog of cigar smoke until she reached the bar, where a man wearing a fedora was sitting by himself sipping on a martini and puffing away on a fat cigar. She stood next to him and asked the bartender to fix her a vodka martini, which he did. The bartender asked her if she wanted to start a tab. “Put it on my tab,” the man in the fedora said.

She sat down next to him. “Thanks,” she said. He tipped his head and said, “You’re welcome. We don’t get many classy dames like you in this place. What brings you here?”

“I was supposed to have dinner at the restaurant next door with my father, but he stood me up. I haven’t seen him in over ten years, since shortly after my mother died, and I was hoping to reconnect with him tonight. But when he never showed, I didn’t feel like sitting there by myself, so I left the restaurant and came over here when I heard the music,” she explained.

“Ah, that’s why you’re all dolled up,” he said, giving her the once over. “Your old man must be a fool to have left you sitting all alone like that.”

“Thank you, I guess. I’m Monica,” she said, extending a hand. “And you are?”

He took her hand and squeezed gently. “I’m Frank. Pleased to meet you, Monica,” he said. “That’s a nice name.”

“My father’s name was Frank,” Monica said. “Like you, he enjoyed his cigars.” Monica looked more closely at the man sitting next to her. “Would you mind taking your hat off? I want to see your face.”

“Sure, babe, whatever you want,” Frank said, removing his hat and putting it on the bar to his left.

Monica let out a gasp. “Oh my God,” she said. “You look remarkably like my father when he was a younger man.”

“Should I be flattered or insulted?” Frank asked, a smile on his face.

Monica had heard her father use that expression many times over the years. A weird feeling came over her. “What is your last name?” she asked Frank.

“Grayson,” he said. “Frank Grayson, but my friends call me Smitty.”

Monica felt faint. “This can’t be happening,” she said. “My last name is Grayson and my father’s nickname is Smitty. Is this some kind of a sick joke? She stood up, put down her drink, grabbed her wrap, and ran toward the door.

“Hey, honey, it’s 1955,” Frank yelled as she was leaving. “You need to lighten up in these modern times.”

As Monica left the lounge, Rod Serling appeared just outside the door. “Monica missed her estranged father terribly,” he said, “but when he didn’t show up for dinner tonight, she left the restaurant and walked into the past, where she finally met her father again…in a cigar lounge called The Twilight Zone.”

Written for the First Line Friday prompt from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. The first line is “Lush melodies drew her to the door of the lounge, the friendly smiles enticed her inside.” Image credit: “Cigar Bar Evening Lounge” by Brent Lynch.

A Very Special Delivery

B841FB41-8572-4D8E-9303-4A87946521D4“Was that a knock?” Brenda asked.

“Don’t answer it,” Dave insisted.

“Why not?”

“Because we’re not expecting anyone.”

Brenda ignored Dave, went to their apartment door and looked through the peephole. “It’s the guy from Federal Express,” she called out to Dave. “Can I help you?” she asked.

“I have a delivery for you,” he said.

“Who’s it from, we weren’t expecting anything.”

“I don’t know, ma’am,” he responded. “I just deliver.”

“Okay, leave it by the door,” Brenda said.

“Fine,” he responded and walked away.

Brenda looked over at Dave. “Can you go out and get it?” she asked him.

Clearly annoyed, Dave got up and went to the door. He opened it, picked up the box, and brought it inside their apartment, kicking the door shut behind him. “Jeez, this is heavy,” he said.

Excited, Brenda examined the large package. She tore open the box and the started to squeal. Dave came running over to her. “Are you okay? What is it?”

“Oh my God,“ Brenda screamed. “This is a genuine Dyrpirh!”

“A what?”

“A Dyrpirh,” she said. “I told my mother we were running low on toilet paper and we are in the midst of this pandemic and can’t get any. She said she’d help us out. But instead of toilet paper, she sent us a freakin’ Dyrpirh!”

“But what is it?”

“What is it?” Brenda exclaimed. “It’s a state-of-the-art toilet-top bidet with a heated seat, temperature controlled water spray, and a warm air drying element. Who needs toilet paper when you have a Dyrpirh?” she gleefully said.

Written for two Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie prompts. The Tale Weaver Making Sense of Nonsense prompt where we’re asked to write a story using the nonsense word “Dyrpirh,” and the First Line Friday prompt where the first line is “Was that a knock?” Also for Fandango’s One-World Challenge (express).